Ducks Unlimited awarded federal grant to improve 380 acres of wetlands in Michigan, Ohio

Projects to improve habitat for waterfowl, wildlife and recreation

Fast Facts:

  • DU projects in Michigan, Ohio receive $599,177 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Award is part of Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act
  • Projects in Michigan’s St. John’s Marsh, Ohio’s Toussaint Wildlife Area will improve habitat for waterfowl, wildlife and recreation.

ANN ARBOR, Michigan – July 29, 2016 – Ducks Unlimited was awarded $559,177 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enhance 380 acres at coastal wetlands in Michigan and Ohio important to waterfowl, recreation and wildlife.

The projects will improve Michigan’s St. John’s Marsh and Ohio’s Toussaint Wildlife Area. The funding is part of $1.58 million awarded under the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act grant program to restore sustainable populations of fish and wildlife resources, and their habitats, in the Great Lakes Basin. Eight projects were funded.

“Ducks Unlimited relies on the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act as an invaluable resource to protect and restore wetlands,” said David Brakhage, Ducks Unlimited Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Director. “The coastal restoration projects at St. John’s Marsh in Michigan and Toussaint Wildlife Area in Ohio are examples of conservation benefiting not only waterfowl and wildlife habitat but also recreational opportunities for people.”

The $599,177 will be split between the Michigan and Ohio projects. Both projects are scheduled to be complete within two years.

St. John’s Marsh – Located in St. Clair County, Michigan, St. John’s Marsh is part of one of the largest, most productive and biologically diverse freshwater deltas in the United States. Owned by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, it’s a tremendous waterfowl and recreational area, but is choked with invasive phragmites vegetation. This project will enhance 295 acres of wetlands by improving waterway connections between the marsh and Lake St. Clair. These improvements will allow the Michigan DNR to manage water levels in the marsh to help control phragmites while proving better habitat for fish and wildlife. Construction will begin late 2016 or early 2017 and is part of a larger effort between Ducks Unlimited and the DNR to eventually restore and enhance 627 acres at St. John’s Marsh. Also providing funding for this project is DU partner Axalta Coating Systems.

Toussaint Wildlife Area – A popular public use area owned by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Toussaint is managed to provide coastal wetland habitat for wildlife and outdoor recreation. Toussaint was formerly a waterfowl hunt club. This project will enhance 85 acres of coastal wetlands by reconnecting the area to the Toussaint River and improving outdated infrastructure. The upgrades will improve seasonal fish access and habitat for waterfowl. This is part of a 125-acre restoration program which received $600,000 in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Since 1998, the restoration act has provided more than $24.4 million dollars in federal funding to 157 research and restoration projects. When combined with required matching funds, this equals to more than $36.1 million worth of benefits to Great Lakes fish, wildlife and the habitats they depend on. More than 100 organizations have contributed more than $11.7 million in matching non-federal partner support.

The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act is a powerful tool to help support research and conservation in the Great Lakes Basin. It is supported in part by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which provided $1.22 million in 2016 funding.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.6 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit

Media Contact:
Chris Sebastian
(734) 623-2017